The word iconic is often banded about with sumptuous ease these days, too often given to people, places or items which are not worthy of such a moniker. One brand however who are at liberty to claim such a lauded title however are esteemed shoe makers and one of Britain’s most iconic brands, Clarks.
Along with brands such as Fred Perry, Sunspel and Burberry, you can feel the quintessential Britishness of Clarks simply by uttering the word. It has a ring to it which speaks of tradition and craftsmanship that is often not seen in modern shoes and in a world where we all seem a little obsessed with wanting everything immediately, the value of a good pair of Clarks can go a long way.
Clarks was born in 1825 in Street, Somerset, when James Clark, working in his brothers tannery decided to turn the leather off-cuts in to a pair of slippers. Since then, as most of you will only be too aware, Clarks have gone from one pair of slippers to a brand recognised around the world for great quality shoes, boots and of course, slippers.
As one might expect from a history dating back almost 200 years, there have been numerous style that have passed through the Clark archives but here’s a look at some of the most iconic shoes to hail from that tiny village in the South West of England.
Without doubt the most iconic shoe in the Clarks range. Rapped about by the Wu Tang Clan, worn by Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher, the Wallabee crosses the line between smart / casual making it perfect for all your wardrobe needs. Whether you go for the leather or soft suede version, with that crepe sole at its base, there is no mistaking this as one of the most iconic shoes of the past two decades. A modern classic in every sense.
The Desert Boot
If bucket lists exist in fashion, the Clarks desert boot has to be on there somewhere. Inspired by a rough boot from Cairo’s Old Bazaar, it became the footwear of choice for off-duty army officers in the early 1950’s and hasn’t looked back since. With its simple fastening, clean lines and that crepe sole, if you haven’t owned a pair already, now’s the time to do so.
An off shoot of the desert boot, the Jink shoe has become a summer classic. Ok, so maybe now isn’t the ideal time to be talking about this shoe but if you want to know your Clarks history then you have to recognise this as one of their all time classics. It became synonymous with Mods in the 1980’s and a classic, military green parka and straight leg jeans just wouldn’t like right without a pair of Jinks on your feet.
All of the above styles are available from Bells Shoes. So if you are looking for something that combines historical value, great craftsmanship and a brand that has stood the test of time for over a decade, then Clarks is the answer to all your shoe prayers.